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Made for TV revolution---Article

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Posted: 28 April 2011 at 7:56pm | IP Logged

The made-for-TV revolution

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Shailaja BajpaiPosted: Apr 29, 2011 at 1707 hrs IST
Waiting for the day Anna Hazare's movement makes it to our dreary serials.

It was hailed by television news as a revolution, or as India's Tahrir Square moment (should that be movement?), as citizens came out in droves to support the Anna Hazare fast for the Jan Lokpal Bill and against corruption. It has now become the Anna-Amar kahani; in other words, just another verbal squabble on prime time TV.

'Govt killing Anna drive?' was one debate (CNN-IBN), recently, while Times Now had an "exclusive" as Prashant Bhushan hit back at Amar Singh and those who allegedly tampered with a CD that attempted to implicate his father Shanti Bhushan in "corrupt" behaviour and destroy his credibility. Meanwhile, Amar Singh would not "tolerate the doublespeak of the Bhushans" on Headlines Today. One week is obviously a long time in politics and revolutionary movements. Just when we were cutting back on our calorie intake to prepare for another fast revolution, we're back to square one.

Away from scams and shams, it's a real shame that Gaurav Kapoor looks like a baby Lion King but is actually just a human TV anchor for IPL's Extraaa Innings (Sony Max), which became extraaa long because of rain interrupting play last week. Honestly, he should audition for the role if it ever comes up. So far, we're watching the IPL in a kind of mindless, careless way, often with the volume muted. This is a great way to shut out voices — there's really very little that needs description in a Twenty20 match. We can see and cheer those sixes as they disappear into the cheering crowds (haven't people got anything else to do with their evenings besides going to watch a cricket carnival?).

It's still hard, however, for Delhi supporters to see Gautam Gambhir moving his feet to Ekla cholo and not egg him on (instead, hope it ends up splat on his face), or Punjab's fans to discover Yuvraj Singh as a Pune Warrior (what is it with these names)? Then there's RavindraJadeja, erstwhile

Rajasthan Royal, now a Kochi Tusker (Tsk! Tsk!— sorry could not resist the impish impulse). Just doesn't sound right. We are getting our loyalties mixed up and it's difficult to know whether to celebrate or mourn a victory as a defeat.

Still, anything is better than our TV serials. Spare a kind thought for them, poor tearie-dearie-drearies. They simply don't know what happiness is or where to look for it. Between them, there's not a smile to be seen unless you catch it in a commercial break. Something seriously wrong — and no pun intended. Seriously. To find something akin to a grin on Uttaran (Colors) or Pavitra Rishta (Zee) is more difficult than a happy face on a primetime news discussion. Everyone is so intent on being unhappy that you have to wonder what they do when they're off camera.

One of the reasons TV serials are becoming increasingly difficult to watch is this unrelenting grimness. We know life is sad, bad and many of our social indices will make you cry, but surely, the young girl in Phulwa (Colors) should be allowed to smile a little more before she turns into a Phoolan Devi-like dacoit?

These are the silliest examples, but you know what we mean. There is a great deal of misfortune and tragedy in the country, but such issues deserve to be treated with sensitivity so that they spread awareness, not be turned into prime-time melodrama. Na Aana Iss Des Laado (Colors) is perhaps the best effort yet to tackle a subject like female infanticide. Last seen, the villainous Ammaji was dancing with the girls — no, not the stars.

If popular culture is not entirely divorced from reality, we are now waiting to see some serials about corruption soon, maybe even on Anna Hazare. But, TV producers do need to find new ways to portray social realism. One way may be to break free of the weekday soap format. Any takers?

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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Joined: 18 November 2010
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Posted: 01 May 2011 at 2:35am | IP Logged
Thanks for article

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